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Oklahoma State University

Financial Support

We have several types of financial support available to qualified graduate students in the programs. Financial support can be grouped into two categories: fellowships and assistantships. The fellowships are considered as scholarships. Assistantships are considered to be part-time employment (up to 50% time) and need to perform specific services relevant to the assignment.

Every applicant for admission is automatically considered for financial assistantships. No separate application form is required. School has established a policy to continue to support students throughout their graduate studies, so long as they continue to demonstrate a strong performance towards their degree.

The financial support includes:

  • Fellowships sponsored by industrial supporters of our program; these normally do not require the student to perform any specific service to the School. Students are encouraged to explore all sources of aid available when considering means of financing their graduate education. Outstanding students should explore fellowships awarded nationally on a competitive basis, from organizations such as National Science Foundation, GEM, Ford Foundation, UNCF Merck Science Initiative and Hertz Foundation. Annual fellowship packages for qualified applicants may be as much as $30,000, including tuition and medical insurance. In addition, the school may nominate exceptional candidates for supplemental fellowships from the Graduate College.
  • Research Assistantships are available through individual faculty on a variety of externally funded research projects. A number of cooperative research projects are carried out with the support of private companies and federal grants received by faculty. These assistantships permit the student to pursue thesis research while helping the faculty on the research project. Research assistantships are determined by the student's research advisor based on the availability of funds.
  • Teaching Assistantships for students who assist faculty in classes, performing as graders, lab assistants and/or consultants to the students (see below)

Holders of financial support may qualify for Oklahoma resident tuition rates based on their support level. Holders of assistanceship have to follow appropriate payroll office processes the paperwork. Check with the department staff for paperwork.

Teaching Assistantships

One of the ways in which students are given financial support is through Teaching Assistantships. This has distinct benefits to the Teaching Assistant (TA), the students in our courses, and the faculty. The TA benefits both from the financial support and from being involved in the educational process. Students in the courses benefit from the prompt return of their homework, projects, etc., and from having someone available to discuss any problems they are having in the course. The faculty members benefit from having assistance from the TA in managing the course, grading students’ work, etc.

If you are supported by a TA position, there are definite expectations regarding your performance. You must meet with the faculty member who is teaching the course immediately after you are assigned to the course in order to learn the specific TA duties for that course -- be sure that you fully understand what is expected of you. Among the usual expectations are that you (a) grade and return homework, etc., promptly, (b) fully understand the course materials on which students may have questions during your office hours, (c) always keep your office hours or arrange for a substitute, and (d) maintain a positive, courteous and supportive attitude toward students in the course. Failure to meet these obligations can lead to the loss of your TA position.

Each Ph.D. student will, at some point in his/her graduate program, receive at least one semester (quarter-time minimum) of experience as a TA (irrespective of the manner in which the student receives financial support). Performance as a TA during M.S. studies does not relieve this responsibility. This is done to expose Ph.D. students to the instructional, as well as research, environment in academe and to assist the students in evaluating academic career options. The semester in which a student discharges this TA responsibility will be determined by a combination of (a) the student’s interests and (b) the TA needs in CHE.

For Students whose first language is not English

To qualify as a “first language,” English must have been the primary language used in day-to-day communication in the student’s home. Any student, native or international, whose first language is not English must demonstrate adequate command of the English language to qualify for a TA position, which involves student contact.

Prospective teaching assistants who score a 26 or better on the speaking portion of the Internet based TOEFL (iBT) or an IELTS speaking score of 8.5 or higher will be cleared for classroom or lab instruction.

Prospective teaching assistants with iBT speaking scores of 22, 23, or 24, or IELTS peaking scores of 7.0, 7.5, or 8.0 will be required to pass the OSU-administered ITA Test (see below) in order to be certified for classroom or lab instruction.

Prospective teaching assistants with TOEFL iBT speaking scores of 21 or below, or IELTS speaking scores of 6.5 or below are advised to seek English language training in order to improve their spoken language proficiency. After on semester of residence at OSU, students who wish to demonstrate that their English has improved sufficiently to be considered for teaching for lab assignments may take the Versan English Test, administered by the OSU Office of Testing and Assesment. A passing score on the Versant will enable the student to take the ITA test at its next regular administration.

Prospective teaching assistants who are unable to access the iBT or the IELTS prior to arrival at OSU may receive authorization to take the Versant English Test. A passing score on the Versant will enable the student to take the ITA test at its next regular administration.

Prospective international TA’s must also pass the “International Teaching Assistant” (ITA) program prior to their first teaching experience. This program includes a five-minute presentation on a topic the student may be asked to teach, plus a five-minute question/answer period. A score of 250 is required to pass. A score of 26 or better on the speaking protion of the Internet based TOEFL (iBT) or an IELTS speaking score of 8.5 or higher will clear a prospective teaching assistant for classroom lab instruction.

The above tests must be scheduled through the OSU Office of Testing and Assestment. Additional information on the Versant exam can be found at http://uat.okstate.edu/. More information on the ITA exam can be found at http://english.okstate.edu/ita/.

Periods of eligibility.

Periods of eligibility for financial support differ according to the degree being pursued by the student. These periods are described below. Further, “support” during a given semester may be half-time, quarter-time, etc.; each of these meets the definition of support during that semester.

Direct Ph.D. Students are eligible for a maximum of seven semesters of support from school funds, which may be used in any of the first ten semesters of the Ph.D. program.

Ph.D. Students (with M.S. Degrees) are eligible for a maximum of six semesters of support from school funds, which may be used in any of the first eight semesters of the Ph.D. program.

M.S. Students are eligible for a maximum of three semesters of support from school funds, which may be used in any of the first four semesters of the M.S. program.

In all cases, additional support may be provided by the student's research advisor for a number of semesters determined by the advisor.

In the above programs of study, the periods of eligibility for support begin when the student first enrolls in the degree program. The period of eligibility runs consecutively from the time of first enrollment and expires when the above time limits are reached, even if the student is not supported in any or all of the semesters of eligibility. For students who pursue both the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees at OSU, the above time periods are considered separately. The term “school funds” as used above is defined to include support from teaching assistantships, fellowships (whether from OSU or outside sources, e.g., NSF), or other CHE sources outside of research grants and contracts to individual faculty members. Summers (the period outside the academic-year Fall and Spring Semesters) are generally not included in graduate student financial support from CHE. Summer support, if any, must be arranged between the student and advisor, based on extramural research funds available from the advisor.

Students receiving financial support will generally be continued on support, subject to (a) the time limits given above, (b) the availability of funds, and (c) satisfactory progress toward a degree. Each student's progress will be reviewed at the close of each semester, using the following criteria:

  • Grades for the semester,
  • Progress on research, and
  • Performance in teaching or research assistant assignments

Decisions regarding continuation of support will be based on recommendations of the Faculty Graduate Committee, with approval of the entire faculty.